The Senate on Sunday said that the move by some governors under the Northern State Governors’ Forum (NSGF) to negotiate for a loan from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is illegal, and called on them to shelve the move.
The Senate noted, that no state borrows such money without the approval of the National Assembly, adding, that it is contrary to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Chairman of the NSGF and Governor of Borno State, Kassim Shettima had recently led four northern governors to Saudi Arabia to negotiate for a loan with the Islamic Development Bank, (IDB).
Shettima had said the visit was just an exploratory one and not necessarily to ask for loan.
The Senate however stated, that whoever must have led the northern governors to Saudi Arabia for such a loan was ignorant of the relevant provisions of the law, or had chosen to circumvent the law.
While urging the governors to read the relevant acts, the Senate stressed that the IDB must not release any of their funds until due process was followed or else they will be “on their own.”
The Senate in a statement, entitled: “Northern Governors’ Saudi loan illegality” and signed, yesterday, by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign and Domestic Debts as well as Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Shehu Sani, APC, Kaduna Central, said: “The recent solo moves by governors of the northern states to obtain loan from the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank is in direct conflict with the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The action of the governors runs contrary to the relevant provisions of the Act that clearly and unambiguously vest the exclusive right to borrow externally on the Federal Government.”
Reacting on behalf of the governors, Borno State Commissioner for Information, Home Affairs and Culture, Mohammed Bulama, said the trip to Saudi Arabia by the governors was just an exploratory one, stressing that things had not got to the stage of seeking Federal Government’s approval for any loan.
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